How Breast Milk Can Prevent Celiac Disease In Babies

As babies grow up and their bodies adapt to various changes inside and outside, they may be afflicted with certain ailments and conditions from time to time. A number of babies get affected by Celiac disease. It is one type of inherited autoimmune enteropathy which gets triggered by the intake of gluten protein present in several cereal grains. People affected by it cannot digest gluten, which is found in grains like rye, barley and wheat.

This disorder is also called gluten-sensitive enteropathy. It affects only a small fraction of toddlers though. The main signs are mal-absorptive diarrhea, bloating and cramping. Some other symptoms like constipation, weight loss and headache can also happen to the affected lot. It is also confused with other digestive disorders at times because the symptoms can be diverse.

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Why Kids Get Afflicted With Celiac Disease?

The medical experts are not sure as to why the toddlers get afflicted with celiac disease. It does have genetic roots, though. However, not everybody with the disease running in heredity may be affected by it since environmental factors can play a role. This affects people in the US and northern European countries. Most kids get affected by this ailment between 6 months and 12 months of age. This is the time when they are actually introduced to semi solid and solid food. It is when they are also exposed to gluten through various foods, as it is.

[ Read: How To Keep Newborns Awake During Breastfeeding ]

Link Between Celiac Disease And Breastfeeding

There is considerable debate over the link between celiac disease and breastfeeding in babies. A number of studies carried out have indicated there is a correlation between the two. The available epidemiological evidence has pointed at an association between celiac disease and breastfeeding practices.
The way breastfeeding is stopped and dietary gluten is given to a kid also affects onset of the disorder in him or her, as it has been seen. Diversity is also there in terms of manifestation of the ailment in the affected toddlers. For example, some toddlers may exhibit common symptoms soon after exposure to gluten through various foods. However, there are others kids who do not show signs, but the signs manifest when they are subjected to any stress or injury.

How Breastfeeding Affects Celiac Disease In Kids

A number of studies conducted on the impact of breastfeeding on kids with celiac disease have indicated that breastfeeding does help in delaying its onset. If a kid is given breastfeeding even after 6th month, chances are there he or she will not get affected by the disease before 15th month or so. Besides, introducing gluten-based cereals later and continuing breastfeeding leads to drop in instances of symptoms in kids under one year. However, in the long run, a genetically venerable individual may still develop the diseases, the childhood feeding measures not withstanding.

The important variables, namely- continued breastfeeding for first 6 months, delayed exposure to cereal grains and breastfeeding overlap with cereal are correlated. However, the doctors are not still clear on why exactly breastfeeding helps delay onset of celiac disorder in kids. However, doctors and pediatricians feel breast milk works the best because it is adapted to suit the evolving needs of a baby’s body.

How To Treat Kids With Celiac Disease

If you suspect your toddler has celiac disease, it is time to seek medical help. A doctor can carry out required blood tests and perform endoscopy to ascertain the results. It can be tricky at times because some people react to gluten even though they test negative for celiac disease! If the child is found to be afflicted with this ailment, the doctor may ask you to give him or her strict gluten free foods. They also need to be given gluten free medications and beverages. Avoiding gluten based skincare and some FMCG products are also required.

Summing It Up

While more studies need to be carried out to find exact correlation between breastfeeding and celiac disease in toddlers, its importance cannot be overlooked. The majority of doctors feel that mothers should offer breastfeeding at their babies when semi solid and solid foods including gluten based cereals are introduced. Gluten based foods should be given to the toddlers in small amounts initially for the best outcome.